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P/R/S nonsense fiercely climbing STEP 1: Divide off affixes. VC / C V dentist sentence pumpkin STEP 2: Divide between consonants. VC / V study river olive V/CV rumor focus vacant

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Students consider all syllabication rules as they break down two-syllable words.
Students sort 36 words in each set by 4 basic rules, applying them in order. This material provides abundant practice, thereby allowing students to see patterns and decode rapidly. Once students have worked through the 12 sets, they are ready to apply steps to longer words. Improving syllabication consciousness is a valuable spelling aid.
Syllable Sorts 310 $30

STEPS 3 & 4: If one consonant is between vowels, divide after long vowel or after consonant if vowel is short.

TEACHING STRATEGIES: Assure that students have prerequisite phonics skills

Students who need to use syllabication to decode words must be taught syllabication rules holistically. When they apply basic rules in steps, they begin to recognize patterns and break down unknown words. Initially, the rules are applied to two-syllable rules. Once students learn the patterns, the same rules are used to break down longer words. Even those students who read words with ease in context generally improve spelling accuracy if they become more cognizant of word structure and syllabication patterns. Students should possess certain prerequisite skills and concepts before being taught the syllabication rules. Frequently, it is necessary to review short and long vowels, as well as prefixes/root words/suffixes, before proceeding with syllabication. You will see why as you review the following foundation concepts. Each syllable must contain a sounded vowel. It can be a single vowel sound (idea) or used with one or more consonant sounds (begin). There are two kinds of syllables: open and closed. A closed syllable ends with a consonant and the vowel is usually short (or a schwa). An open syllable ends with a vowel that is generally long (clover, event). The vowel may be a y pronounced as /e/ (funny) or occasionally / i/ (myself). Since the first rule deals with dividing between root words and affixes, students must be familiar with prefixes, suffixes, and root words. Digraphs, or two consonants that make a single sound (ch, sh, th, wh, ng, nk, ng, ck, ), cannot be divided (buckle, nothing, cashier, bushel, further). In some cases, blends are not divided (secret, migrate, zebra). Do not preteach since students discover this when identifying open vs. closed syllables.
Copyright Reading Manipulatives, Inc. Tips for Teachers Syllabication p. 1


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Line off cover-weight sheets of paper (8.5 x 11 inches) into 10 horizontal strips (1.1). Draw vertical lines at 4.25 (center), 2.125 (center left column), and 6.375 (center right column). Use the accompanying syllabication resource list. Write the 4 rules at the tops of the columns Write 9 words for each rule below it. Sets must be coded in some way. This can be done with codes or color. Laminate cards. Cut apart and place pieces in zipper bags or other storage devices. Create a checklist to track the completed sets.


P / R / S Check the word for prefixes and suffixes. The first step is to divide between them and the root word. If necessary, affixes need to be reviewed with the students (farmer, reading, mistake). VC / C V Check for multiple consonants together between vowels. Divide between the consonants (candy, happy, elbow). If a word has one consonant between vowels, decide whether the first vowel is long or short. V / C V If the vowel is long, divide after the vowel leaving an open syllable (favor, season, stupid). VC / V Otherwise, divide after the consonant leaving a closed syllable (honey, plural, dragon). Students consider all of the rules as they sort the words. By the time they have completed several of the Syllable Sorts, they begin to see the patterns. Soon they have the strategies they need to break down unknown multisyllabic words.

Draw lines. Write the syllabication rules at the top of each column. Then write 9 words that follow each rule below it (RM product 310).


The same rules are applied to divide words of 3 or more syllables (RM product 320). In the sample below, division lines have been inserted.
Divide into syllables. Apply rules in order.




Prefix / Root / Suffix
1. Remove affixes.

2. Look for multiple consonants in middle. First syllable is closed.

Closed syllable
(short / schwa)

Open syllable
(long / schwa)





3. Determine whether syllable is open or closed.





in dus try com pu ter

pa tri ot ic ab sorb ing gra cious ly sup ple ment con struc tion ben e fi cial cel e bra tion un sus pect ing ac cept a ble stim u la tion

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ex pla na tion com mun i cate ac ci den tal ap pro pri ate triv i al hy dro gen trans por ta tion ad ver tise ment per son al i ty de mol ish

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cul ti vat ed
lovely grammar ladle honey

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dis ap pear ance un con di tion al gen er a tion

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sup er vi sor
sliding signal rumor shovel

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con ser va tion es tab lish re place ment

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Copyright Reading Manipulatives, Inc.

Tips for Teachers Syllabication p. 2

RESOURCE LIST: Two-syllable words P/R/S

Identify and remove affixes
actor artist asking bashful beside bigger blindness boldly booklet bossy breathless bumpy careful climbing closest cloudless coming countless creamy crying darkness dearest deeper discover dreaming dropper drowning endless export farmer fearful forecast foolish friendly furry graceful handy harden hilly hotter improve itchy joyous lovely louder lucky misspell mistake morning noisy nonsense package painless partly payment peaceful planted playful preview quickly rainy really refill repay restful sadly salty sleepy slowest smaller softly soggy stopping subway sweeter tallest thankful thinking thirsty thoughtful throwing tractor treatment unfair vastly wanted warmest windy after apple arrow athlete balloon basket berry blister bottle bunny butter button cabbage candle candy carrot cattle channel circle coffee common compete contest contract cotton council current custom dentist dizzy elbow enjoy fancy fifteen filter follow forbid forget frantic funny gentle gossip hamster happen

Divide between consonants
hello helmet hurry kitten ladder letter lettuce lobster lumber mattress monkey monster napkin office pattern pencil penny picnic picture pistol plastic plenty problem puppy pumpkin purple rabbit ribbon scissors sentence signal silly sister soccer subject summer target thunder turkey whisper window winter wisdom wonder atom body bother bucket cabin camel chapel chisel city civil clever clinic closet

First syllable closed (short)
money nickel novel olive panic pedal petal pity pivot planet present profit proper punish quiver radish rapid rebel relic relish rigid river robin salad savage scholar seven sheriff shiver shovel shrivel study timid topic tragic travel tropic venom vigor visit vivid volume wagon widow baby bacon bagel basic begin

First syllable open (long)
motor music nation notion obey odor open oval paper photo pilot pony pretend private pupil radar razor reason recess regard resist rival robot rotate rumor secret silent siren soda solo spider stupid super table tidy tiger total tuna unite vacant vapor virus wager zero

behind cable cedar cement climate clover cocoa cradle decay demand destroy digest donate donor duty eager easel equal even evil fever final flavor focus global grocer hero hotel holy humor idle item label lady legal locate major minus moment

column comet copy credit critic devil digit dragon finish forest fragile gravel habit honey honor image lemon level lily limit linen lizard logic magic manage medal menu metal mimic minute modern

Copyright Reading Manipulatives, Inc.

Tips for Teachers Syllabication p. 3